The History of Virgo
Virgo is a sign separate from the constellation of Virgo and most of the stars from this constellation are currently in the sign of Libra. In the zodiac, the sign of Virgo is set between Leo and Libra, taking the sixth 30 degrees of the zodiacal circle. Virgo is a mutable sign, announcing the autumn to come. This makes it quite depressing in its changeable nature, for it represents the change between the sunny summer, and the presumably rainy autumn when everything dies down. To add to it, Virgo is a predecessor of Libra, the sign in which the Sun sets.
This constellation was found in Babylonian astronomy, dating back from approximately 1000 – 700 BC. It was known as “The Furrow”, representing goddess Shala’s ear of grain and an important star in this constellation, Spica, is Latin for “ear of grain”. This gives the image of hard work that gives results. Virgo is often depicted as a woman holding wheat in her hand.
The myth of Virgo
The constellation of Virgo was often linked to Greek and Roman goddesses of Agriculture, Demetres and Ceres. Still, the primal connection of ancient Greeks connected this constellation to Astraea, the celestial virgin, who was the last immortal to live with humans during the Golden Age, one of the five deteriorating ages of man. She abandoned the human race and left the Earth to flee from the wickedness of humanity.
The more intense myth linked with this constellation is the one of Erigone, daughter of Icarus. Icarus got killed by shepherds because they got drunk on his wine and thought he tried to poison them. As he was dying, he remembered how Dionysus taught him to care about the vine, and that one day a goat ate everything he has planted and grown with love and devotion. Angry, Icarus killed the goat, skinned it and invited other people to dance around it. At the moment of death, he realized that by killing the goat, he actually hurt himself.
His daughter Erigone with her dog Maera, found her father’s body under a tree and hanged herself over him. The dog stayed there sad for his owner, until he was dead too. But the story doesn’t end here. Since Dionysus was so angry because of this unjust act, he punished Athens by making all of the city’s maidens commit suicide in the same way, until the shepherds who killed Icarus were finally found and punished.
The connection between the Virgo myth and the Virgo zodiac sign
The most important link between these two myths is in the stupidity and ignorance of the human race. All of the actors in both myths have finished in the sky, one way or the other, because of the lack of gratitude and people of low moral and intellectual traits. There is an image of an educated person whose knowledge is not valued. There is a tragedy in the myth of Virgo, one that can be moved through generations of women, until the source of the problem is solved.
We often assume that Virgo is a sign of lonely women who sacrifice for a higher cause, and this is in close correlation to these stories. There is not love story in the sign of Virgo, except the one that includes family and a woman’s love for her father. This constellation and the sign it was assigned to it, point to a relationship of a girl with her father that made her commit suicide, and this can often be a social or an emotional suicide, instead of a physical one.
This tragic story carries an important lesson within, hidden in the last thought Icarus had. He understood that he signed his own fate by hurting another being, and even though a sacrifice of his life was made, there is a spiritual, enlightening moment in its end – a moment in which true value of any life is shown.